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Israel Central Bureau of Panic

In 1900, British experts projected that the large number of horse carriages in London would cause the city to be flooded by horse manure in 1950.  They did not comprehend the socio-economic trends of 1900, did not realize the potency of the technological and transportation revolution, and erroneously assumed that human-kind and nature evolve in a predictable-linear fashion.


This is the fate of projections, such as the one made by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS), expecting the Jewish sector to decline – and the Arab sector to expand – by 5% in 2030.  Since 1948, many ICBS projections have been crashed against the rocks of reality, due to erroneous demographic assumptions.


For example, in 1948 the founder/mentor of the ICBS, Prof. Bacchi, lobbied Ben Gurion to postpone the establishment of the Jewish State, since the 600,000 Jews were projected to become a minority by 1967.  In 1967 and in 1973, the ICBS projected Jewish minority west of the Jordan River in 1987 and 1990 respectively.  However, Arabs remained roughly a 40% minority, in spite of an all-time high Arab fertility in Judea & Samaria.  In 1968 the ICBS projected sustained high Arab fertility rates until 1985.  But, in 1985 Arab fertility rate plummeted to 4.7 children per woman from 9 children in 1968.  In its 2000 projection toward 2025, the ICBS projected a moderate decline of Jewish and Arab fertility rates.  However, Jewish fertility has been annually higher than ICBS’ highest scenario, reaching 2.8 children per woman in 2007 (the highest in the industrialized world!), while the dive in Arab fertility (3.5) has been 20 year faster than projected by the ICBS.

In contrast to ICBS projections, the annual number of Jewish births has grown by 40% between 1995 (80,400) and 2007 (112,455), while the annual number of Arab births has stabilized at 39,000.  The proportion of Jewish births has expanded from 69% – of total births – in 1995 to 75% in 2007.


The ICBS has also blundered in its Aliya (Jewish immigration) projections.  In 1948 it contended that there was no chance for a massive Jewish Aliya to conflict-ridden and economically-deprived Israel.  However, one million Olim arrived. In 1972, Prof. Bacchi insisted that Aliya would be severely curtailed, since “Western Jews do not wish to come and Soviet and East European Jews cannot come.” However, some 200,000 Olim arrived.  During the mid-‘80s, Bacchi’s successors precluded the eventuality of a massive Aliya from the USSR – even if the gates would be opened – due to social, economic, cultural, technological and security factors.  They, also, underestimated the number of Soviet Jews by 50%.  One million Olim arrived from the USSR. In 2008, the ICBS persists in under-projecting Aliya, ignoring the substantial Aliya potential from the former USSR, USA, France, Latin America, Britain, Germany, Hungary, So. America, etc.  

The Zimmerman-led “American-Israel Demographic Research Group” (AIDRG) has identified a series of structural and factual errors, which have caused the systematic collapse of ICBS projections (although ICBS’ on-going documentation has been accurate!).  The ICBS has approached Jews as a low-fertility normative western society, in defiance of non-normative Jewish history, including demographics.  The ICBS has systematically under-projected Jewish fertility, forging an artificial secular-religious-ultra orthodox average (instead of employing separate averages, which would produce the accurate higher projection), ignoring the robust Jewish fertility in 2006-7 and disregarding the substantial fertility rise of Soviet Olim and their descendants.  The ICBS has idolized Arab fertility rates, assuming that the unprecedented Arab population growth rates of the 1960s (within the “Green Line”) and the 1980s (in Judea & Samaria) would last beyond one generation.  In fact, it was a pre-decline rise, as evidenced in any interaction between Western and Third World societies (Initially, health infrastructure reduces infant mortality and extends life expectancy, but then modernity reduces population growth rates).  The ICBS has downplayed the impact – on the Israelization of Arab fertility – of urbanization, family planning, teen pregnancy reduction, expanded education and career mentality among Arab women and enhanced Arab integration into Israel’s health, educational and financial infrastructure.  Modernity has produced an older Arab society (with many more Arabs in the age brackets of 60s, 70s and 80s), which has yielded a higher death rate, a lower birth rate, and therefore a lower natural increase rate, while Jewish fertility has crept upward.

Contrary to the ICBS, the UN Population Division documents that the dive of Muslim/Arab birth rates – with the backing of Moslem religious leaders – is the fastest in the world.  For instance, Iran’s fertility has collapsed from 10 children per woman 25 years ago to 1.8 in 2007, while Egypt and Jordan fell below 2.5 and 3 from 7 and 8 children per woman respectively.


In 1798, the French demographer-economist, Maltose, projected global catastrophe due to a supposed geometric growth of the global population, while food supplies would grow arithmetically.  Maltose did not comprehend the technological, medical and agricultural trends and did not expect the drastic decline in fertility rates.


Unlike ICBS’ and Maltose’ groundless fatalism and pessimism, Israel’s Jewish demographic reality has been a source for hope and optimism.  Still, the 2008 ICBS projection indicates that the ICBS is determined to learn from history by repeating – and not by avoiding – serial drastic errors.



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2023 demographic update: no Arab demographic time bomb

Demography west of the Jordan River

In 2023, Israel is the only Western democracy endowed with a relatively high fertility rate, that facilitates further economic growth, which is not dependent upon migrant labor.  Moreover, Israel’s thriving demography provides for bolstered national security (larger classes of recruits), economy and technology and a more confident foreign policy.

In 2023, contrary to projections made by the demographic establishment at the end of the 19th century and during the 1940s, Israel’s Jewish fertility rate is higher than the fertility rates in all Muslim countries other than Iraq and the sub-Sahara Muslim countries.

In 2023 (based on the latest data of 2021), the Jewish fertility rate of 3.13 births per woman is higher than the 2.85 Arab fertility rate (as it has been since 2016) and the 3.01 Arab-Muslim fertility rate (as it has been since 2020).

In 2023, Israel’s Jewish fertility rate is higher than any Arab country other than Iraq’s.

In 2023, there is a race (which started in the 1990s) between the Jewish and Arab fertility rates, unlike the race between the Arab fertility rate and Jewish Aliyah (immigration), which took place in 1949-1990s (while the Jewish fertility rate was relatively low).

In 2023, the Westernization of Arab demography persists as a derivative of modernity, urbanization, women’s enhanced social status, women’s enrollment in higher education and increased use of contraceptives.

In 2023, in contrast to conventional demographic wisdom, Israel is not facing a potential Arab demographic time bomb in the combined areas of Judea, Samaria (the West Bank) and pre-1967 Israel. In fact, the Jewish State benefits from a robust tailwind of fertility rate and net-immigration.

In 2023, the demographic and policy-making establishment persists in reverberating the official Palestinian numbers without due-diligence (auditing), ignoring a 100% artificial inflation of the population numbers: inclusion of overseas resident, double-counting of Jerusalem Arabs and Israeli Arabs married to Judea and Samaria Arabs, inflated birth – and deflated death – data (as documented below).

In 2023, Israel is facing a potential wave of Aliyah (Jewish immigration) of some 500,000 Olim from the Ukraine, Russia, other former Soviet republics, France, Britain, Germany, Argentina, the USA, etc., which requires Israel to approach pro-active Aliyah policy as a top national priority.

In 2023, the Jewish demographic momentum persists (since 1995) with the secular Jewish sector making the difference, while the ultra-orthodox sector is experiencing a slight decline in fertility rate.

Jewish demographic momentum

*The number of Israeli Jewish births in 2022 (137,566) was 71% higher than 1995 (80,400), while the number of Israeli Arab births in 2022 (43,417) was 19% higher than 1995 (36,500), as reported by the February 2023 Monthly Bulletin of Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS).

*In 2022, Jewish births (137,566) were 76% of total births (180,983), compared to 69% in 1995.

*The fertility rate (number of births per woman) of Israeli secular Jewish women has trended upward during the last 25 years.

*Israeli Jewish women – who are second only to Iceland in joining the job market – are unique in experiencing a direct correlation between a rise of fertility rate, on the one hand, and a rise in urbanization, education, level of income, integration into the job market and a rise of wedding age, on the other hand.

*In 1969, Israel’s Arab fertility rate was 6 births higher than the Jewish fertility rate. In 2015, both fertility rates were at 3.13 births per woman, reflecting the dramatic Westernization of Arab demography, triggered by the enhanced social status of women, older wedding age (24), expanded participation of women in higher-education and the job market, and shorter reproductive time (25-45 rather than 16-55). According to Israel’s Monthly Bulletin of Statistics, in 2021, the Jewish fertility rate was 3.13 (and 3.27 with an Israeli-born Jewish father), while the overall Arab fertility rate was 2.85 and the Muslim fertility rate was 3 (Judea and Samaria Arab fertility rate – 3.02).  The average OECD fertility rate is 1.61 births per woman.

*The unique growth in Israel’s Jewish fertility rate is attributed to optimism, patriotism, attachment to Jewish roots, communal solidarity, the Jewish high regard for raising children, frontier mentality and a declining number of abortions (34% decline since 1990).

*In 2022, there were 45,271 Israeli Jewish deaths, compared to 31,575 in 1996, a 43% increase (while the size of the population almost doubled!), which reflects a society growing younger. In 2022, there were 6,314 Israeli Arab deaths, compared to 3,089 in 1996, a 104% increase, which reflects a society growing older.  

In 2021, Israeli males’ life expectancy was 80.5 and Israeli females – 84.6.  Israel’s Arab life expectancy (78 per men and 82 per women) is higher than the US life expectancy (men – 73.2, women – 79.1). Life expectancy of Judea and Samaria Arabs: men – 74, women – 78.

*In 2022, the number of Israeli Jewish deaths was 33% of Jewish births, compared to 40% in 1995 – a symptom of a society growing younger. In 2022, the number of Israeli Arab deaths was 14.5% of Arab births, compared to 8% in 1995 – a symptom of a society growing older.

*Since 1995, the demographic trend has expanded the younger segment of Israel’s Jewish population, which provides a solid foundation for enhanced demography and economy.

*The positive Jewish demographic trend is further bolstered by Israel’s net-immigration, which consists of an annual Aliyah (Jewish immigration), reinforced by the shrinking scope of Israeli emigration: from 14,200 net-emigration in 1990 to 10,800 in 2020 (while the population doubled itself), which is higher than the 7,000 average annual net-emigration in recent years. The 2020 numbers may reflect the impact of COVID-19 on air travel.

Westernization of Arab demography

*A dramatic decline in the fertility rate from 9 births per woman in the 1960s to 3.02 births in 2022 is documented by the CIA World Factbook, which generally echoes the official Palestinian numbers. It reflects the Westernization of Arab demography in Judea and Samaria, which has been accelerated by the sweeping urbanization (from a 70% rural population in 1967 to a 77% urban population in 2022), as well as the rising wedding age for women (from 15 years old to 24), the substantial use of contraceptives (70% of Arab women in Judea and Samaria) and the shrinking of the reproductive period (from 16-55 to 24-45).

*The median age of Judea and Samaria Arabs is 22 years old, compared to 18 years old in 2005.

*The Westernization of fertility rates has characterized all Muslim countries, other than the sub-Sahara region: Jordan (which is very similar to the Judea and Samaria Arabs) – 2.9 births per woman, Iran – 1.9, Saudi Arabia – 1.9, Morocco – 2.27, Iraq – 3.17, Egypt – 2.76, Yemen – 2.91, United Arab Emirates – 1.65, etc.

*The number of Arab deaths in Judea and Samaria has been systematically under-reported (for political power and financial reasons), as documented by various studies since the British Mandate. For example, a recent Palestinian population census included Arabs who were born in 1845….

Artificially-inflated Palestinian numbers

*The demographic and policy-making establishment of Israel and the West refrains from auditing the official Palestinian data, and therefore it does not report the following well-documented Palestinian departure from a credible census:

*500,000 overseas residents, who have been away for over a year, are included in the Palestinian population census. However, internationally accepted procedures stipulate only a de-facto count. It was 325,000, as stated by the Head of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in the aftermath of the first Palestinian census of 1997; increasing to 400,000 in 2005, as documented by the Palestinian Election Commission. The number grows daily because of overseas births.

*375,000 East Jerusalem Arabs, who possess Israeli ID cards, are doubly-counted. They are included in the Israeli census as well as in the Palestinian census. The number grows daily due to births.

*Over 150,000 Arabs from Gaza and (mostly) from Judea and Samaria, who married Israeli Arabs and received Israeli ID cards, are doubly-counted counted by Israel and by the Palestinian Authority. The number expands daily because of births.

*390,000 Arab emigrants from Judea and Samaria are not excluded from the population census of the Palestinian Authority. The latter ignores the annual net-emigration of mostly-young-Arabs from Judea and Samaria (20,000 annually in recent years). Net-emigration has been a systemic feature of the area, at least, since the Jordanian occupation in 1950. For example, 15,466 in 2022, 28,000 in 2021, 26,357 in 2019, 15,173 in 2017 and 16,393 in 2015, as documented by Israel’s Immigration and Population Authority, which records all Jewish and Arab exists and entries via Israel’s land, air and sea international passages.

*A 32% artificial inflation of Palestinian births was documented by the World Bank (page 8, item 6) in a 2006 audit. While the Palestinian Authority claimed an 8% increase in the number of births, the World Bank detected a 24% decrease.

*The aforementioned data documents 1.4 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, when deducting the aforementioned documented-data (1.6 million) from the official Palestinian number (3 million).

The bottom line

*The US should derive much satisfaction from Israel’s demographic viability and therefore, Israel’s enhanced posture of deterrence, which is the US’ top force and dollar multiplier in the Middle East and beyond.

*In 1897, there was a 9% Jewish minority in the combined area of pre-1967 Israel, Judea and Samaria, expanding to a 39% minority in 1947. In 2023, there is a 69% Jewish majority (7.5mn Jews, 2mn Israeli Arabs and 1.4mn Arabs in Judea and Samaria), benefitting from a robust demographic tailwind of births and migration.

*In contrast to conventional wisdom, there is no Arab demographic time bomb.  There is, however, a robust Jewish demographic tailwind.

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The post-1967 turning point of US-Israel cooperation

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Iran - A Clear And Present Danger To The USA

Exposing the myth of the Arab demographic time bomb